US lead scrap prices inched up, on Wednesday as the LME Lead market caught up with the rest of the base metals complex.
The weekly Davis Index for whole undrained batteries, climbed by 0.7¢/lb to 33.7¢/lb delivered US consumer on Wednesday.
Market participants believe that this week’s rise is in line with expectations of battery prices moving between 33-34¢/lb since there is enough supply to cater to strengthening demand for batteries in the domestic and export market.
The LME Lead market, industry sources believe, is finally getting a chance to catch up with the rest of the base metals group, especially since its sister market, LME Zinc, has tempered its gains over the last two weeks. As a result, lead scrap prices have also inched up. That said, the export market remains tepid, with most exporters expecting demand to rise post-mid-February when China returns to the market after the Chinese New Year holiday.
LME Lead prices were rangebound this week with the official three-month LME Lead contract closing Wednesday at $2,054/mt up by $22.50/mt from $2,032.50/mt on Jan 20.
Supply and demand in the domestic market have balanced over the past week, adding to the gains in lead scrap prices that began on Jan 20. Thus, the Davis Index for heavy soft lead rose on Wednesday by 1¢/lb to 76.6¢/lb delivered US consumer, while hard lead climbed by 0.4¢/lb to 70.6¢/lb delivered.
The weekly Davis Index for lead ingot premiums also increased by 0.4¢/lb to 11.7¢/lb under the three-month LME Lead contract amid an extremely limited supply of the material. Some market participants have said that the supply is so acute that suppliers who do procure the volumes may quote premiums as high as 12-13¢/lb.